County to file lawsuits in 4 cases of abandoned, deteriorating houses


Fayette County officials are in the process of filing lawsuits to deal with four homes in the county that are in major disrepair.

One such suit has already been initiated as the county is asking the court to declare a home a public nuisance. Two of the homes were damaged by fires and never repaired and the other two were abandoned mid-construction, and the elements have exacted damage to the frame of those structures, county officials have said.

The county will be asking a judge to not just declare the homes a public nuisance but also to issue an order requiring the property owner to demolish the structure, according to County Attorney Scott Bennett.

“We are asking for a fairly extraordinary remedy: asking a judge to order somebody to tear a property down because its a nuisance and uninhabitable,” Bennett said.

The attorney noted that the court will require the county to prove that the structure is not repairable in any reasonable manner. The taxes on the properties are being paid and are current, he added.

At last week’s workshop meeting of the Fayette County Commission, Commissioner Eric Maxwell said he was concerned that only one of the four homes had legal action initiated. Bennett said much of the problem with the cases is tracking down the actual current owner of the property.

“These properties have already sat there for two years,” Maxwell said. “If they continue to stay there any longer it will be another two years before we get the fourth one filed. … To me, all four of them are a priority.”

Bennett said he could make the cases a top priority to advance them quicker in court.

County building inspections and permits director Joe Scarborough brought the properties to the commission’s attention back in March, and county officials noted that residents near the homes are hoping for resolution to the blights on their neighborhood.

Scarborough also noted another concern that kids in the area might play in the abandoned structures and get hurt.